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Leaving On a Mayday (Special Edition)

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Albenrezension

For her third album — which would become her second U.S. full-length, following the compilation release Halfway to Fivepoints — Swedish songbird Anna Ternheim enlisted the assistance of Björn Yttling, best known as one-third of Peter Bjorn and John but increasingly prominent in his own right via production work for Lykke Li, Shout Out Louds, Primal Scream, and others. It was a savvy move — for one thing, the collaboration netted Ternheim a Swedish Grammy for Album of the Year — and the results were a modest but significant step away from the accomplished but slightly faceless and overstuffed jazzy lounge-folk of her earlier work, toward an edgier, more distinctly pop direction. While hardly as gritty as Yttling's work on Lykke Li's Youth Novels, or his own band's 2009 album Living Thing, Leaving on a Mayday shares with those records an inventive sparseness — achieved more through a spacious openness in the sound than a reduction in the number of instruments, per se — and in particular a relative paucity of guitars in favor of, among other things, surprisingly prominent percussion. That's especially true of the album's first half, where the pulsing, stripped-down grooves are colored by majestically thick string arrangements (penned by Yttling, who also contributed his multi-instrumental talents throughout.) For all its sonic distinctiveness, though, this is still fundamentally a singer/songwriter album — the arrangements may sometimes be more initially striking than the songs they are designed to serve, but with further listening, they emerge as well-conceived if unconventional complements to a fine slate of lyrical compositions steeped in the autumnal melancholy favored by so many Scandinavians (Ane Brun, Stina Nordenstam, Britta Persson, Sarah Assbring,etc.), with an especial tinge of romantic desperation (Ternheim sometimes seems just as distraught and unsettled by the prospect of an actual romantic connection as she is over the absence of bygone and unattained lovers.) That said, several of Mayday's finest and most striking moments are at least musically upbeat, as with gloriously harmonized choruses of the sweeping opener "What Have I Done" and especially the thundering, Fleetwood Mac-ish "Make It on My Own" (one of two Yttling co-writes, and a key track added to the album for its U.S. release.) The tail-end of the disc finds Ternheim in a folkier vein, with the simply, sweetly strummed "Summer Rain," the tense, fingerpicked "Off the Road," and the foreboding, folkloric dirge "Black Sunday Afternoon" offering a nice reminder of her stylistic breadth. [By the same token, a limited Swedish edition of the album came packaged with a five-song EP of Frank Sinatra covers, ostensibly demonstrating that Ternheim hadn't entirely jettisoned her jazzier side, although these generally very effective renditions are actually more in keeping with the mellow indie folk-pop sparsity or the album proper.] ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Biografie

Geboren: 31. Mai 1978 in Stockholm, Sweden

Genre: Pop

Jahre aktiv: '00s, '10s

In her more meditative moments, the folky Swedish singer/songwriter Anna Ternheim seems to conjure up the shadow of fellow Swede Sophie Zelmani; at other times, her poignant, urgent, piano-driven songs nod to artists like Coldplay and, to a certain extent, Dido. It was probably thanks to this well-read sound, not to mention the fact that she recorded her songs in English, that Ternheim went on to earn critical acclaim on an international scale following the release of her sophomore LP. Ternheim's...
Komplette Biografie
Leaving On a Mayday (Special Edition), Anna Ternheim
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